You’re not going to find too many flourishing, brightly coloured reefs on Tenerife but if you take the chance then you’ll experience some amazing volcanic diving with swim throughs and caves, drop offs, drift diving, wrecks and lots of interesting sea life. It’s some of the best diving in the Canary Islands, if not the whole of Europe.
The water can be a little cold in the winter but the visibility rarely drops below 20 metres. You can enjoy many different dive sites, whatever your interest may be. Cool sea life to see include groupers, barracuda, grunts, turtles, octopus, stone fish, cuttle fish, many species of eels and rays and if you’re really lucky, the very special angel shark. Pilot Whales and dolphins are often seen jumping out of the water on the way to the dive site.
There are one or two dive centres in each of the major towns or you will find information about diving in your hotel. Check out the list of dive sites in Tenerife to see what might interest you. You can snorkel off most of the beaches or join a dive expedition to get to some other great areas.
There are a few wrecks to explore but mostly for advanced divers due to the strong currents. The Condesito was a cargo vessel which is now broken up a little but has exposed the boiler and engine room. You can see trumpet fish, octopus, schools of sardines or maybe even a dolphin or angel shark on this dive. The El Meridian and Tabaiba are other wrecks to discover. You might want to consider getting wreck certified here as it’s a great place to do it.
Easy shore dives include Abades where you might come face to face with the resident turtle or a couple of seahorses. Puertito is also another great, easy dive site for viewing friendly turtles. Certified divers can enjoy Cueva de los Cerebros or El Aquario. Advanced divers can enjoy Cueva del Palmar or La Caleta.
It’s very popular to hire a Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) to do some of these dives as the interesting stuff is quite a swim from the shore and you can cover a lot more ground with a DPV. And flying around on an underwater scooter is loads of fun! If you haven’t tried this great diving experience yet then ask your dive centre for more information.
The biggest of the Canary Islands in Spain and also the most popular, Tenerife is a plethora of landscapes, activities and culinary delights. Home to the tallest peak in Spain, Pico del Teide, the island offers some great walks through not only moonlike volcanic mountains but tropical forests as well.
Closer to Morocco than mainland Spain, you’ll find it much easier to fly to Tenerife than to take a boat. There are very cheap flights from many major cities in Europe to the island’s southern airport or all inclusive package deals that work out a lot cheaper than booking everything separately. There is also an airport at the northern end. There are boats from Cadiz but it’s a long journey and much more expensive, you’d only consider this if you were taking a car. There are also boats to and from the other Canary Islands.
Accommodation options include cheap hotels or backpackers from $25 a night for a double room and five star resort options range considerably from $80-$400 a night. Most places are near the beach and breakfast is included but all inclusive is a way to go for a real budget holiday. Service can vary considerably, so check the reviews before booking.
There are many great things to discover on the island. If you just want to relax then check out one of the many beaches and take a nice refreshing dip in the ocean. You can trek the two hours up to the top of Pico del Teide or alternatively take a cable car up for some spectacular views. Play a few rounds of golf or try some great Canarian food in one of the many local restaurants.
Sail the crystal clear waters or take a dolphin and whale watching tour. Try one of the many water sports, the most popular being diving and snorkelling, with some very nice sites to discover. If you time it right and visit in February, the three weeks of carnival will keep you occupied and offer you some great parties in an amazing atmosphere.
For a great night out head to Centro Commercial San Telmo or Las Veronicas and you can party until the early morning. Try the local fried fish at one of the many seafood restaurants, or tapas and paella (the double L is pronounced as a Y so ask for paeya, or they might not understand what you want), or other popular dishes. The wine in the region is award winning so be sure to sample a few glasses.
Food, wine, sunshine and good times are all to be had on Tenerife. So pack you bags and visit this beautiful island.
(By Kelly Luckman)